What channels can i get in my area?
To get an ideal of the channels you can get in your area www.tvfool.com , type in your postal code and height you are thinking of putting your antenna and you will get a read out of the channels that are possible. This site is not totally updated as some channels have gone digital now in Canada and it has not been updated with the latest changes. Also see our digital transition page to see what has happened around you if you want is see what has happened with the Canadian digital transition
Will a good quality Antenna work by my window or in my Attic?
Some people are extremely lucky, they put an antenna next to a window indoors or in their attic and get great reception, we have countless people with such success stories living in major Canadian towns and cities and even pictures of people that have placed a channel master 4221HD, 4228HD or Antennas Direct C2, C4 or DB8 on their couch and bingo the are receiving digital HD channels coming in crystal clear. We also have countless stories of people that have tried this and not done as well. Putting an antenna in the attic or inside a house is not always ideal as you can lose up to 40% signal due to either bricks, shingles and wood. The first thing we ask all our customers to do is to try for fun. After all a small table top antenna for example in the greater Toronto area will most certainly always get CBC and TVO in HD as well as a small handful of other channels.
What can i do to get the most from my Antenna?
For best guaranteed results the following is very important:-
Picking the right antenna for your very specific location, the towers you wish to receive signal from, it might sound very simple and an antenna may seem like a no brainer, but selecting the correct antenna is the most important. This one step is the most fundamental piece otherwise you will be wasting your time and money and compromising the quality and quantity of what you will receive. Getting a signal is one thing also and maintaining that signal is also very important!
Point an antenna towards the general direction of the towers. Outdoor is always better then indoors. The higher you install an antenna the better. The shorter the run of cable between the antenna the TV or converter box the better.Never use cable joiners or too many cheap splitters as each time you join cable in any way you lose a minimum of 3.5db loss which is huge. Always use good quality UL RG6 cable with compression fittings where you can. We have done many installs in the Greater Toronto area and sold 1000's of antennas to people in the GTA Toronto, Kitchener, London, Windsor, Ottawa , Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, as well as rural areas. For the installs we have done in the GTA Toronto area our customers always get over 25 channels, sometimes it has taken us 5 minutes to locate the best spot to hang the antenna in a good area and sometimes it has taken us many hours. Some cases we have had to use pre-amplifiers and distribution amps to get the best signal. We find most customers do very well if you are willing to follow the points listed above. In some cases people living in a condo or apartment facing north in the GTA area they may get a lesser number of channels or people living in a condo that want to put the antenna indoors only may not get all the channels that are available in there area. Selecting the right antenna is crucial. We also tell customers to take a pessimistic approach to over the air and say to themselves for example in the GTA Toronto area, if i spend $50 - $150 on a top quality antenna like the channel master, Antennas Direct or Winegard and i get 14 channels then be happy, this way when they report usually over 20 they are very pleased. People in rural areas the selection of a good antenna, height and the right preamps is very important. We have been even successful in places which are 100 miles away from transmission towers and perhaps more due to towers crossing water like the lake, using the deepest fringe antennas like the winegard 8200U or channel master crossfire series with a good low noise high gain pre-amp. Location, Terrain and the ability to choose a setup based on channel RF frequencies is vital. For expert advice outside of the GTA email us with your postal code at email@example.com if you require assistance with the antenna to select. If you are in the GTA come in to see us at our retail store location in the greater Toronto area, we are in Mississauga. We will ask you for your location and a series of questions on your location and where you wish to install an antenna. This way we can give you options of antennas based on your location, mounting and pointing advice to ultimately make your over the air OTA experience a successful one.
Do the cheap clone antennas work well?
A HDTV TV Antenna is the cheapest part of your HDTV setup, why settle for a cheap antenna or junk on your expensive HDTV TV when it makes a huge difference in quality and quantity for a price difference of $20 - $50. If you are going to go through all that effort why settle for the wrong Antenna rather then a top performer for your area. We are not fans of junk antennas, nor do we recommend using an antenna that will under perform for a particular area. A coat hanger will get you some stations if you are in a good spot for OTA, in fact in most parts of Toronto, Mississauga, Scarborough, Markham, Richmond Hill and most of the GTA for example a coat hanger or any antenna will usually get you CBC in true clear HD. With this fact many people have tried to clone popular antenna designs using cheap materials bad rivets and usually for the $5 - $25 price difference will get you some channels. Companies like digiwave, multistar, eaglestar and Antra have cloned the most popular 4 bay and 8 bay technology of old companies like channel master a 60+ year old company ,winegard and antennas direct also very old companies. Clones have some results but still lacking when it comes to success stories of getting towers 87 miles away like NBC, CBS, ABC from Toronto and even having some difficulty with fox 29 which is only 57 odd miles away from us. Scanning a channel is one thing, maintaining your signal is more important. Since 1949 channel master has been the leader in manufacturing world class highly rated Over the air - OTA Antennas. To increase your chances its best to stick with the best in the industry especially when it costs you only an extra few bucks , why buy a clone. On top of buying a clone antenna, clone sellers also sell cheap quality cable for usually the same price as good quality to even make your chances worse. Maybe you will get some results , but usually these types of Antenna's do nothing more then a coat hanger would perform. These poorly constructed antenna's have poor gain on high frequencies used to get UHF digital TV. Some come with a poor quality amplifiers which create noise and distortion and rarely improve in gaining a good solid signal. The Digiwave (antra), multistar electrohome and eaglestar is a prime example of a low end china made HDTV antenna that is widely sold in electronic, PC, and satellite stores! They are exactly the same cloned antennas made in the same factory just packaged in a different retail box. Channel Master, Winegard and Antennas direct have decades in this industry with a wealth of experience and knowledge of Antennas and products like distribution amps, Pre-Amps, Converter boxes and other equipment related to Over the air , off air products! Do it once and do it right!
I just purchased my HDTV and no one told me in the big box retail store about OTA why?
Going to the big box stores for a HD TV and they have a few things to up sell to you, firstly is the added 5 year warranty, they will try there best to make you buy this added warranty. Once they have exhausted this avenue they will then try and sell you expensive HDMI cables, then finally with your HDTV it is not HD until you have a HD source is a popular motto from them. Tell them about OTA and getting over the air channels with an Antenna with better picture quality and sound then a HD cable box or satellite they will look at you like you have 2 heads and even question if this is legal? This is not the fault of the sales person, it is what they have been trained to do, it is the trainer and higher management as selling you OTA HDTV is too low a profit for them, selling you even a few months free or longer of a monthly billed product and they make so much more commission. During there sales pitch they will also tell you we don't make a commission, and then again try and say are you sure you don't want to take the warranty, and even when you cash out the cashier will again ask you why are you not taking advantage of the insurance and whatever other subscribed service offer they have for you.
How does major networks like NBC, ABC, Fox, Global, CBC, City etc make money from OTA it makes no sense to me?
Giving people free best quality Over the air HDTV and how can a major network make money you must be wondering? 13.5 Million people in the US was estimated to use OTA as their primary source of local broadcasts. The US government used this figure in the transition from VHF (snowy picture) to UHF (DTV Digital TV and HDTV). They used this figure and decided to give US customers a break and for those that needed digital converter boxes a coupon and rebate to help with the digital HDTV transition. Well they were wrong, this figure was greatly under estimated and now there are over 3 million people waiting for rebates in the US as the government has exceeded its set budget. So back to our question how do major networks make money from this? They sell the rights to major satellite and cable companies. For Example they sell Rogers, cogeco , Bell, star choice the rights to broadcast CityTV and generate some revenue. This is not the only source of revenue that CityTV will generate , they make money from adverts. When you watch a 30 minutes show at least 8 minutes or more is advertisements. Major companies advertise commercials and this is extremely big revenue. If more people watch CityTV in Over the Air HDTV in better quality then cable or satellite then the advertisers do better and so does the network. We still end up supporting our local businesses, our country and our community but we don't get a bill for it every month! And the money we save on these bills we can spend with the local advertisers in the commercials. Over the air is Legal free and helps our community!
I have heard of Antenna's that get distances of over 100 Miles or even more is this true?
A good Antenna from the big three manufacturers Antennas Direct, Channel master and Winegard can get over its specifications but in general the limitation due to the earths surface being round is usually between 70 - 80 Miles in the UHF band and at very most 100 miles. Exception exist due to lakes and bodies of water. You can however break these boundaries depending on line of sight, going across water is about the best it gets. There are extreme circumstances and times this range is exceeded but it is rare! However UHF antennas rated at 45 - 50 miles from real manufacturers with proper verified rating breaks many of the barriers as most of its users end up picking up channels that are over 80 miles away like NBC, ABC, CBS for example from Toronto, the lake plays an incredible part as well as Canadian culture in always wanting to get Free TV especially from the US!
I was getting certain channels before the digital transition now i am not getting the same line up?
Rescan your TV or converter box, alot has happened since 31st August 2011 in Canada and in July 2009 in the US. Some tuners its best to remove the cable from the back of the TV or converter box scan so that is clears its memory then rescan. Channels have been added and channels have moved and changed frequencies in the UHF band and some even broadcasting in digital and even HD in the VHF band. After you have scanned and if still you are missing a channel that you believe is available and you would like to receive it then contact us!